Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Diversionary Tactics

Well last Friday we went out to dinner and then stopped by a club for a while. Guess we arrived home around midnight to a dark house. Neighbor had power it seemed so after stumbling about a bit getting candles and flashlights I headed out back to the breaker panel. Well it was easy to find since all the wires leading up to it were hanging about a foot off the ground. Appears a storm passed thru and broke a branch off the oak. Our giant staghorn fern tumbled but survived. Guess the branch ripped out our power, cable and phone line when it fell. Took out our neighbors too. So the weekend plan changed and I cleaned up a big mess. Sadly we had a really neat hybiscus tree get tumped over as well. Dug it up and replanted it but had to slice a major root. Only time will tell, but it isn't happy so far.

Well at least the pup had some fun! Lots of nice fresh wood to chew.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Finally A Doghouse

Well Cutter finally got his wish. It's even got a refrigerator. Too bad about the Gator colors and he never found the door. Saw a few wings and decided better safe than sorry. That's what the contract is for, right? The lil buggers might have just been passing through, but now they are ... deadurzzz.

Can't believe these Plum Perfect daylilies are blooming about 2 weeks after planting. That's a pleasant surprise. (
Hope we can get the fence covered with these ultra cheap vines and shrubs. Grow baby Grow!
Nice grass there, blechhhh.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Plant of Attack

The front was looking a bit too bushy. Lots of azaleas and stringy impatiens. Huge, but stringy. Even the african (bulletproof) iris are a bit overgrown. To me it looks better from a distance than up close-up, so it's haircut time. Attack one-half at least. Found ye trusty ole hedge trimmer and went chopping. Doesn't look to swift with the long impatiens poking up, but we left them in case everything croaks. Plus we are after a few cuttings. After the trim (or whack job) we just pulled weeds and vines for a long, long time and finally found some dirt again. Well, maybe not dirt, but better than white sand.

The first clump we replanted is hopefully going to be orange. We chose online orange crush daylilies and from local stores a Mexican something or other and some little orange flowery bushes. C'mon and grow, c'mon and glow!

The second area is purple and blue (hopefully) fading to white in the rear. This was done with some online purchased plum purple daylilies, impulse purchased hydrangeas from Costco of which one immediately appears to have croaked from the sunshine. The bushy purple/blue jobs are backed by an existing azalea (color unknown) flanked by a couple gardenias. Should smell nice. Oh, someplace we hope to sneak in a few special black iris I found online. Hope those do well. Time will tell what works, or survives. The vines are pervasive and we probably need some type of mulch. But it should be to our liking if it all works.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hence The Fence

Well the fence is now pretty well complete except for gate openers. Gonna wear my gopher suit to tunnel under the driveway soon. Hopefully, the gate integrates well with the house even though it's aluminum. More durable some would argue than wrought iron, at least less maintenance. Now the hound dog can share his operatic vocalizations with all passersby. Lucky them. He's a good boy, just loud.
The other side gets a smaller picket fence. We wanted to keep it open as much as we could so that someday we can try to get some roses in there. Unless the oaks are too shady in which case we might revert to sand spurs. Managed to get the sprinklers working along the north roadside after patching up a broken irrigation pipe. Now the weeds can properly flourish.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Was Hard Now Soft

Well, I am declaring the softener and filtration project done and suspect that this particular modification isn't particularly historic. At least the colors might be. At some point, I suppose I will rewire the receptacles to get them closer and put something in that allows the transformers to fit a little better. Between the spinkler timers, my radio, the cord for the garage attic spotlight and the 2 new flecks a power strip is the solution. Next, comes hooking up the a sink and getting the garage ice-maker working (you can see the little black stub with a shutoff valve poking out) which sadly I fear means redoing the entire drain system to the main line from the garage because the sink is kind of low in relation to the existing plumbing.

So, I finally bought some dang big PVC lopers that should save my arms some wear and tear. I'll get on that, after I mow that is. And clean the gutters. And put a light fixture in the closet. And have a martini (or two).

On another note we walked over for carry out to China Garden after calling ahead. I guess for about 17 bucks we got enough food to feed an army. General Tso's chicken tasted fine. Beef and snow peas were yummy. Both came with fried rice and lots of eggrolls. Bunglewife likes eggdrop so we drug that home too. The food was all good and hot, meaning heat hot which was perfect. We love lo mein so we gave the veggie style a try and that all disappeared. We still have enough for another meal or two. We're going back and think they should open the back door for local resident pickup! I love those little plastic packs of hot mustard. Maybe I will scan the menu for grins, lot's of choices. Looks like you can get lunch there for a bit over 4 bucks!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Let's Fix A Fence

Fresh survey in hand, lot lines designated we began to develop an idea of the type of gates we wanted. Redman Fence installed the original fence, so we're using them to finish up the sides and front. We built the fence we previously had on Idlewild and liked it a lot, but it wasn't right for this house. The 8' part in the back is pretty heavy and since I am working on plumbing we wanted instant gratification. Redman did a picket fence up the street on Idlewild we like, so we soon expect to have a great fence. They seem to be fence craftsman rather than installers. We stuck with a low fence along the east front part in case of future expansion. Homer's Depot in Brandon, after a lot of online ordering struggles, managed to come up with a dual gate opener for the front. Also, we ordered the outward opening arms online at Homer's.

We cleared the fence lines of brush and cleaned off the sections of fence needing repairs. Some time ago somebody drove thru the fence from the Publix side, it was repaired by Redman. Sadly, the wood for the 8 foot part isn't availabe anymore, so we are having some milled. After 3 consecutive weeks of Round-up application to vines growing on the fence - nothing. I was shocked it didn't even faze them. Boy, try to get Roundup to honor their warranty, they don't make it easy. After lopers and the weedeater, the sideline looks much better.

Fence gets started below:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gimme Some Water

Found this old metal frame in the backyard weeds, so I spruced it up with a wire wheel and paint. Now it holds the well pressure tank relocated from the garage.

That made room inside the garage to installed two 20 gallon sediment filters, be sure to seek the largest ports to maintain the best water pressure. I chose to go with two Big Blue sediment filters as the first step. Next to it you see a temporary installation of a Fleck 7000 carbon filter which is likely overkill.

Next will come a Fleck 7000 water softener. We bought our softener and carbon filter here. There was an old Culligan system we gave away that had a leaking bypass valve and they didn't make parts for it any longer.

We had a Sears softener in our prior home that worked just fine, but I wanted a LOT of water pressure. I was keenly aware of flow rates and potential pressure drops. Plus, we had some long pipe runs from the well up to the house. I'd had more experience with copper pipes thanPVCc, so when I piped the lines from the pump through the first sediment filters I had several joint leaks. Grrrrr. After reading about how to gluePVCc, I redid all that and it was perfect. Sadly, I had leaks at the fittings that screwed in now. The problem was I didn't use enough Teflon tape, plus I slathered on the plumber's goop and now everything is jam up.

We kind of installed in phases since I was a little spooked by the initial leaks. After *blush* three plumb jobs all is well. Except ... we had a head scratcher. I couldn't get the softener to regenerate and after a call to The Water Pharmacy, Frank got me straightened out. Appears we had the two heads reversed on the tanks. I thought I installed the softener, but when I opened the tank and peeked it was the carbon filter. That was an easy fix! I bought all the filters and softeners online. I physically picked the Flecks up down around Sarasota at their shop. Hopefully I will get the softener mix-up squared away this weekend.

The cool thing about Flecks is they have 1 1/4 inch valve bodies; so if you are concerned about maintaining your water pressure, these things have some of the least pressure drop you can get at a reasonable price. I'd guess we installed the filters and softener for about $1,500 bucks and estimate we can flow a good solid 13-17 gpm of treated water. The sediment filters are rated at 20 gpm each (times two). The carbon filter is the bottleneck of the system, but now we get 100% carbon filtered water everywhere compared to the 1-3 gpm filters that go under sink. Basically, a whole house filtration and treatment system is Cool Beans. Try pricing a similar system with a major brand installer and it will be 3-5 grand. Fleck and Autotrol make almost all the heads for softeners, they sell them under lots of different names. I do think Culligan makes their own, but their 1 ¼ inch model is $$$$$.

Oh, I left out the bypass valves on both units for two reasons. The valve bodies are smaller and constrictive hence I feared flow and pressure drop and they tend to leak over time. I guess it's a trade-off. I don't mind whipping up a pipe bypass if a meteor strikes and smashes one of the systems to bits. I'm much faster and pretty leak free aPVCvc now. Can't wait till I try my hand under the house and screw up a bunch of PEX tubing.

Status = still on Honeydo list